German woman and North Korean husband: Reunited after 47 years

6th August 2008, Comments 0 comments

Renate Hong arrived with her two sons, aged 47 and 48, in the North Korean capital on July 25, say South Korean papers.

Seoul -- A 71-year-old woman from Germany travelled to Pyongyang to meet her North Korean husband, 47 years after they were separated, South Korean news reports said Tuesday.

Renate Hong arrived with her two sons, aged 47 and 48, in the North Korean capital on July 25, the paper Joongang Ilbo said, quoting diplomats and sources close to Hong's family.

If, when and where she met her husband and father of her children, Hong Ok Geun, three years her senior, could not be confirmed, one of the story's authors said in Seoul.

North Korea's Communist rulers allowed a non-South Korean foreigner to enter the country for a family reunification for the first time, the paper said.

"Today my dream is finally realized," Hong said when departing to North Korea.

The visit had been arranged upon invitation of the North Korean Red Cross. When visiting South Korea last year, Hong asked both Korean leaders in a letter to allow her to meet her husband again.

She had found out from the German Red Cross and the Foreign Ministry in Berlin that her husband was still alive and had a new family in North Korea.

In July 2007, she received a letter from him for the first time.

Renate Hong and her husband were forced to separate in 1961, one year after their wedding. He was studying chemistry in then East Germany, was ordered to return home by the Communist government, like all North Korean nationals studying abroad at that time.

DPA

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